Verse > Anthologies > William Wilfred Campbell, ed. > The Oxford Book of Canadian Verse
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William Wilfred Campbell, comp.  The Oxford Book of Canadian Verse.  1913.
 
Keats
By Arthur Stringer (1874–1950)
 
ALL over-thumbed, dog-eared, and stained with grass,
All bleached with sun and time, and eloquent
Of afternoons in golden-houred romance,
You turn them o’er, those comrade books of mine,
And idly ask me what I think of Keats.        5
But let me likewise question you round whom
The clangour of the Market sweeps and clings;
In Summer toward the murmurous close of June
Have you e’er walked some dusty meadow path
That faced the sun and quivered in the heat,        10
And as you brushed through grass and daisy drift,
Found glowing on some sunburnt little knoll
One deep, red, over-ripe wild strawberry?—
The sweetest fruit beneath Canadian skies,
And in that sun-bleached field the only touch        15
Of lustrous colour to redeem the Spring—
The flame-red passion of life’s opulence
Grown over-sweet and soon ordained to death!
 
And have you ever caught up in your hand
That swollen globe of soft deliciousness?        20
You notice first the colour, richly red;
And then the odour, strangely sweet and sharp,
And last of all, you crush its ruddy core
Against your lips, till colour, taste, and scent
Might make your stained mouth stop the murmur; ‘This        25
The very heart of Summer that I crush!’
So poignant through its lusciousness it seems!
Then what ’s the need, Old Friend, of foolish words:
I’ve shown you now just what I think of Keats.
 
 
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